Richmond Reinforced By Return Of Brown And Davies
Richmond welcome the undefeated Saracens Women to the Athletic Ground on Saturday evening in the next instalment of a fierce rivalry between the two London clubs.
After the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s took a break last weekend, Richmond are itching to take to the turf in South West London and look to end Saracens’ winning start to the season.
Head Coach David Mobbs-Smith has made several changes to the side that downed Worcester a fortnight ago and has had to deal with an international departure.
There has been a reshuffle in the pack owing to second row and captain Rowena Burnfield – who has started all four league matches to date this season – being named in Simon Middleton’s England training squad this week.
Claire Phelps and Fran Hall fill the void in the second row with Zoe Barber – who can also cover the front row – starting on the open side.
Becky Ball and Walaroo Chloe Butler make up an exciting back-row which sees Butler make her debut appearance in the Premier 15s.
Prop Laura Kapo takes over the captaincy in Burnfield’s absence and is joined by French skipper Gaelle Mignot and Victoria Meki in the front row.
Abi Chamberlain continues in the no 10 jersey and resumes her partnership with Charlotte Keane in the half-backs.
The back division is beginning to have a familiar feel to it with Jade Wong partnering Vic Britland in the midfield, the pair have been punching holes in defences all season-long.
Kiri Lose and Rachel Laqeratabua take their places on the left and right wings respectively with a consistent performer in the shape of Katie Wallis completing the line up at full-back.
Among the replacements, Mobbs-Smith welcomes former Scotland skipper Susie Brown out of retirement and back to a Richmond match day 22.
Brown was enticed back to playing rugby with the announcement of the first ever Women’s Barbarians and will don the old gold, red and black of Richmond this weekend.
GB American Footballer, Oli Davies is another returnee on the bench. This week she has opted for rugby and with over 100 caps for the club will provide added experience to the squad.
Front row Morgan Simpson and second row Sian Hobday will bring added ballast to the pack when called upon with Steffi Clarke and Kirsty Lee Griffths covering the back division. Versatile Libby Povey completes the replacements.
Richmond could move above their rivals with a bonus-point win and – if that wasn’t incentive enough – a place in the top four would be cemented (for a week at least) with victory.
Mobbs-Smith is hopeful his side can prove their mettle come kick-off against their London rivals.
“The visit of undefeated Saracens riding high in the league brings a serious challenge for a settled Richmond squad,” said Mobbs-Smith.
We have two new faces on the bench, but former Scotland captain Susie Brown and GB American Footballer Oli Davies certainly aren’t new to Richmond.
We are confident the balance of the match day 22 will give Saracens a tough time come Saturday evening.”